My reading list
Nation - Terry Pratchett The Daynish Campaign - Thomas Knapp A Great Reckoning - Louise Penny Diva - Delacorta Landed Gently - Alan Hunter
In full
Welcome to the Submarine Network. This is the new home of carbon14.

海底ネットワークへの歓迎。 これはcarbon14の新しい家である。

Terms and Conditions of Use
what's up doc!

Last updated: 28/08/12

28/08/12  06:36:58 pm,

Raspberry Pi

I bought a Raspberry Pi.

Partly to have a look at it and get to grips with it.

And partly to use to further my research.

I have a new research project (also documented on the forums) and I hope that the two will feed into one another.

09/08/10  12:13:38 pm,

Yamaha OPL project

I've started a research project to investigate the behaviour of the Yamaha OPL3 chipset.

rather than documenting this through a blog, I thought I would use my forum

01/07/08  03:50:11 pm,

Hosting new site

I'm hosting a site for my colleague Alastair. He is part of a small crew sailing right around the UK mainland over the next 5 weeks.

You can check on their progress here

14/03/08  02:15:39 pm,

Terms and conditions

I have added some terms of use, these are linked from the front page.

04/04/07  10:36:50 am,

New artwork - poster in the makings

I am working on a nice poster design.

Mexican Wave

I've posted some wallpaper based on this, in the art section

In full
Digital philosophy

Last updated: 28/11/16

28/11/16  04:26:34 pm, Technology

Unexpected Execution Order of Pipeline Components in BizTalk

Recently I ran into an unexpected problem with a custom pipeline component which I thought had been working fine. Suddenly it stopped working, but with an unexpected workaround. Today I worked out what the problem is, and although it makes perfect sense it caught me by surprise. I can't find any mention of this gotcha elsewhere on the internet, so I thought I'd write about it here.

Last year I wrote a custom pipeline component (Message Dump component) which optionally dumps the message body and/or the context of the message, and I use it regularly in my pipelines. Because the dumping is optional, and can be quickly controlled at runtime, I place the component in pretty much all of the pipelines that I use. When turned off, the overhead is minimal, but when you want to check what's going through any given stage of a pipeline you can quickly turn it on and get what you need.

This year we decided that one of our pipelines should always dump a copy of the message body and so I created another cut down version of this component (Archive component) that didn't have the optional switch. It has just 1 configuration option which is the path to the file that should be written, and that file path can contain various macros which can be expanded from the message context.

Everything seemed to work in the development and test environments; we went live with it and it was great. After a period of live commissioning I turned off the Message Dump components in the pipeline, and that's when it all went wrong.

=> Read more!

15/09/15  04:34:04 pm, Technology

If..Then..Else mapping in BizTalk

Starting some serious development in Microsoft BizTalk 2013 and I was looking for a way to streamline some of our maps. One common place where we have clutter is in the if..then..else design pattern. Typically you want to map one element if something is true, and if it's not true, you want to map something else instead.

BizTalk doesn't provide functoids that do that neatly, and over the years several people have commented on this; it's a problem that goes right back to at least BizTalk 2006.

In this post I'm going to show you the custom functoids that I created to try to streamline my maps.

=> Read more!

09/11/07  01:09:18 pm, Technology, Rant

ISP Muppetry

I've just had to help a friend with here broadband email service. It was working on Monday, but at some point during the week it stopped.

It was complaining that it couldn't get a response from the POP3 server. So I double checked all the documentation and rechecked the password. No good.

I had a look through her existing emails and discovered that she'd been sent details of a new email service that she was being moved onto. So I checked through the settings for that.
There were quite a few settings changes and I thought that would sort it, but no.

So then I went to the ISPs extremely slow, and badly organised AJAX enabled website, where eventually I managed to get the help pages to open for me. There I double checked all the settings, still OK and then looked for more help.

"Perhaps your password has become desynchronised in the move to the new service. Go to this page and change your password." It suggested.

I eventually had to find a different computer to get through the website without the AJAX choking and then I changed the password.

It still wasn't working.

I logged into the provider's site again, to be sure the password was right.
I logged into the provider's webmail service, which I discover is now a GMail solution.

There I find, in my friend's inbox, sent after the changeover, a new, and subtly different set of instructions on what to do to get POP3 working. Now you have to log into the webmail service and ENABLE POP3 apparently.

IF you move someone to a new email service.
AND some changes are necessary for them to continue to use it as before
sending them instructions AFTER the changeover is NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!

05/07/07  07:51:53 pm, Food, Recipe


I made some fishcakes yesterday, very easy and extremely tasty.

This should make 4 fishcakes. Enough for 2 people as a main meal with a salad or a handful of chips.

Boil some potatoes, around 250g, until tender. I used new potatoes and then peeled them, but you can use any floury potatoes and peel them first if they have thicker skins. While they were boiling, I was able to steam 180g of fish fillet above the boiling water. You can use any firm fish, cod, haddock or salmon for example. I went for coley because I had some in. It's a little darker in colour than cod, but with a similar flavour, a little less delicate.

Take 2 handfuls of fresh parsley and blend with 15g of cold butter. Then mix with the hot potatoes and mash them with a fork until smooth. Flake the steamed fish into the mash, add two handfuls of fine breadcrumbs and combine thoroughly.

Form the mixture into patties and then chill in the fridge for at least half an hour. They will become a good deal less sticky as the breadcrumbs absorb some of the moisture, and the cooling potato congeals.

When you are ready to cook the fishcakes, beat an egg into a shallow bowl, dip the patties into the egg, coating both sides, and then cover them with a mixture of breadcrumbs and polenta grains. Shallow fry for a few minutes on each side until they are golden brown and the coating has become crispy.

Serve immediately.

04/06/07  04:41:54 pm, Review, Books

Louise Penny

There's not enough english language crime fiction featuring French detectives.

The French have a different approach to crime, their entire legal system operates in a way quite different to our own, and though you might not expect it, the difference shows through in the way that crimes are investigated. To be completely honest, Maigret by Georges Simenon is most likely the only French crime fiction that most people are aware of.

Louise Penny's work is set in Quebec a perfect excuse to reveal the Sureté in action within a english speaking world. And it's refreshing to see. Of course Quebec is bilingual but the French that creeps into the work is neither intrusive nor difficult and lends a authentic sound to the proceedings.

Her debut novel, 'Still Life' is extremely well executed. It has a confidence about it that belies the fact that it has a so far shallow background. Many debut's - especially those that introduce us to characters who will re-occur - are noticeably tentative when compared to the works that come later, but with this novel, you could be forgiven for going back to the bookshop to look for earlier works featuring the redoubtable Inspector Gamache.

Penny has created an entire microcosmos here, in one fell swoop. Not just the brilliant and caring Armand Gamache, but a beautiful setting - the village of Three Pines - filled with well fleshed out characters and in an audacious stroke, the monstrous Yvette Nichol.

The follow-up to 'Still Life' is 'Dead Cold' and brings Gamache back to the same village of Three Pines, little more than 1 year after the events of the first novel. Here Penny shows that she can keep up the pace, her richly drawn story brings out ever more detail in the characters and location. This book is everything that the first was, yet slightly more-so.

Three Pines is a glorious setting for a fresh approach to the village murder mystery, and I look forward to the third in the series, 'The Cruellest Month' when it hits the shelves this autumn.

In full